Not straight-line winds or a tornado – so what hit Swan Quarter? A gustnado?

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Weather service officials say a “gustnado” — not a tornado and not straight-line winds — hit an area around Swan Quarter in Hyde County Friday.

The National Weather Service was sent to survey the area Saturday after high winds around 6:45 p.m. caused damage, including destroying two roofs and knocking out power.

On Saturday, weather officials said winds were estimated to be 80 mph during the weather event, which took on a somewhat unique name.

Weather officials describe a gustnado this way: “A rotating column of air in contact with the ground, but not extending from a thunderstorm cloud.”

Survey crews Saturday said that the source of the rotation was important to determine a gustnado.

“The key was multiple videos and eyewitness accounts showed the origin of the low-level rotation was from the ground up, not from the cloud down,” the weather service said.

The gustnado had a path of 2.3 miles and a width of about 250 yards.

Here is what happened, according to the National Weather Service:

The gustnado formed in a farm field off Creekside Road, which was captured on video and seen by multiple eyewitnesses. 

The gustnado moved eastward, passing just north of the town center of Swan Quarter. A few larger branches were broken with a one piece of a metal roof blown off along Main Street.

Farther east the location of the most damage occurred along Quarter Road near the intersection of Bridgman Road. Here a small camper was overturned, and 10 percent of shingles were torn off a single-story House on Quarter Road. 

The gustnado then crossed Quarter Road and peeled 80 percent of a tin roof off a large farm warehouse, and threw large portions of it as far as a half mile into a large farm field. A small wooden outbuilding near the farm warehouse was pushed off its foundation of cinder blocks and moved about 5 feet. 

This small structure was anchored into the ground. The gustnado then dissipated in a farm field about a half mile to the east of Quarter Road

No one was injured in the incident.

Tideland EMC reported that there were power outages in the area and in three other nearby counties after storms hit.

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